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I’ve just finished The Grand Palace as Emily without killing anybody (as confirmed by the kill count at the end of the mission). Despite this, I encountered several dead people in the Palace itself; there may have been more but I distinctly remember three:

  • A dead lady in the maze-like shrubbery between the Palace and the sea shore, near to a man and a woman playing a game involving hitting a bucket with balls (but hidden from their view).

  • A dead man lying in his own (?) blood on the floor at the steps in the throne room.

  • A dead woman in a somewhat secluded room lying on a round divan in the company of two other women. Just next to her there’s a bone charm.

This isn’t counting the two dead criminals who have been used for target practice by some of the Nobles.

I understand that I am arriving just after a rather lavish party and there are many drunk and sleepy revellers about. But why are some dead? Who/what killed them? As far as I can tell they were dead when I arrived — I didn’t trigger their deaths in any way. And — except for the third one — I cannot find any mention of the dead people online, in walkthroughs etc., and they seemed very out of place in an otherwise excellently designed level.

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    You can usually tell if a dead body is part of the environment and didn't start out as a living person if it says "Body (dead)". There are very few exceptions to this and I'm sure there aren't any in this particular mission. I don't think they're particularly out of place; this is Luca Abele's palace after all, and he seems the sort who wouldn't care. For all we know the man lying in the throne room was executed by him. – BoltClock Dec 5 '17 at 5:30
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Those people are dead when you arrive. So we will never know. But location and surroundings of the bodies gives some clues. My guesses are:

  • Woman on the bed overdose on some chemical, as this room is full of bottles and even sleep darts. Room has "drug den" vibe to it too.
  • Man in the throne room was probably killed by the power drunk Duke in some fit of rage. There are some coins laying near this hand, maybe he was asking for money? Or complaining about conditions in the mines?
  • Maid in the little garden is well hidden. Seems like she was probably raped and killed by one of the guests or guards, and her body hidden to "not spoil the party".

I was tempted many times to kill everyone in the palace :P

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If the reticle does indeed indicate the the body is dead, as said in the comments, it is possible the person was killed by a enemy. These minor events between NPCs are put into the game by the designers to make it more realistic, so it is possible the by clearing the level faster, the civilians will not be killed, as they are on a time/location trigger.

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  • Right, I’ve observed this in other levels where it made sense from a level design point of view. I’m just wondering how it fits into the palace level because for me it’s jarringly out of p(a)lace with the scenery (BoltClock’s comment notwithstanding). – Konrad Rudolph Dec 15 '17 at 13:27
  • It is possible that, with him being a cruel leader, some of the people that work for him have been attempting a coup, as he did with Emily. – John Dec 15 '17 at 13:36
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    What I meant in my comment is that if it says "Body (dead)", and not "Civilian (dead)" or "Guard (dead)", it means that the body was already dead at the time of map load and didn't start out as a living person. A civilian that starts out alive, then gets killed by another NPC, will still display as "Civilian (dead)" when you inspect their body. An example can be found in the Dust District where the Overseers are executing heretics. The body that starts out dead will be "Body (dead)", and the two civilians that get offed when you trigger the interaction will be "Civilian (dead)" after the fact. – BoltClock Dec 17 '17 at 14:36
  • That said, you can indeed save those "Civilian (dead)"s from their fate if you act quickly enough. Just not the "Body (dead)"s. The bodies in the Grand Palace are all "Body (dead)"s. – BoltClock Dec 17 '17 at 14:39
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The context of the level implies that the Duke - a highly sadistic man - invited equally sadistic nobles to his party. The dead bodies you can find throughout the level are, in fact, poor people from the Dust District that he and others have killed for fun. This is borne out by some of the conversations you can overhear, although I'd have to go back and play again to get the exact dialogue.

Also, IIRC, there are several civilians and guards lying around - apparently drunk or tired after the wild party. Note that these are unconcious, though, not dead.

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